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Mums turning to social networking sites in droves

NEW YORK - The number of mothers using social networking websites has risen from 11% to 63% since 2006, according to research, which reveals mums are decreasing their time spent reading magazines and newspapers as they spend more time online.

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The survey, conducted by parenting website BabyCentre, found that young mums, often dubbed "mommy bloggers" are networking for themselves to find parenting tips and information on children's health issues, to share stories about their children and to find product reviews and recommendations.

Almost 45% of mothers interacting with social networking sites were found to use them for word-of-mouth recommendations about products, which puts the websites in a key position to connect parents to brands.

The report also revealed that new mums at home were cutting back on their print media consumption -- almost 50% of respondents claimed to read magazines less after giving birth and 46% said the same about newspapers.

Tina Sharkey, BabyCentre's chairman and global president, said: "Social media has grown up. In just a few years, we think mums using social media will eclipse those that are using newspapers."

BabyCentre's report found that mums form two distinct friendship circles on social networking sites -- their real life friends and their mummy friends, who they meet through sites like BabyCentre.co.uk and various mummy blogs.

The mothers were found to interact with their two friendship circles differently. According to the research, 71% of BabyCentre members share information on that site which they would not share on Facebook.

BabyCentre's report was compiled with information from 18 different surveys conducted over the past six months with more then 25,000 respondents.

It also features information obtained from a study back in 2006.

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